Certified Dietary Manager

This exam is for those seeking certification as a dietary
manager or CDM. It measures your skills and knowledge in the area of
nutritional care and management as it compares to professionals in that field. Passing this exam will grant you certification
as a CDM.

Who is Eligible?

Eligibility for the CDM exam is based on whether or you fall into one of the five categories below:

  • Graduated from an ANFP-approved food service manager training program
  • Have a two-year or four-year college degree in food service management, culinary arts, nutrition, or hotel-restaurant management
  • Graduated from a comprehensive 90-hour food service course curriculum and have two years of institutional food service management experience
  • Are a current or former member of the U.S. military and have graduated from an approved military dietary manager training program and achieved a grade of at least E-5
  • Have an alternate two-year or four-year degree with at least five years of institutional food service management experience, one course in nutrition and two courses in food service management

You will need to submit the appropriate documentation such as transcripts and/or proof of certification during the application process. It is important to note that all coursework must have been completed through an accredited institution.

The fee of the exam is $399. Grants are available for those who qualify.

When and Where is it Taken?

Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email from AMP, a professional testing firm, inviting you to schedule your exam. You will then have 90 days in which you can schedule, take and pass the exam.

Exams computer administered and are held year-round Monday through Saturday at sites located nationwide. You will be provided with a complete list of available dates, times, and locations during the registrations process.

It is recommended that you register early as space and seating is filled on a first come, first served basis and may be limited.

If you need special accommodations and may not be able to test under normal conditions, you can make a request for this.

You may reschedule your exam once during your testing window at no additional charge, should the need arise. This must be done at least two business days before your scheduled appointment. changes made after those two days are not allowed and will result in you being counted as absent and forfeiting any fees paid.

What Should I Bring?

It is very important that you arrive on time for your scheduled exam as there is a check-in process that you will need to complete before testing begins. If you show up late and do not have time for this you be counted as late or absent and will not be allowed to sit for the exam. You will then have to reapply and submit another payment for the exam.

You will need to bring two forms of current and valid identification with you. These must contain your signature and full names as it appears on your application. One must be a primary/photo ID and contain a recent and recognizable photo.

If any information is missing or incorrect, you may be asked to present another ID or risk not being allowed to test that day, in which case you will be counted as though you are absent.

As this is a computer-based exam, you will not need such items as pencils or paper. You are allowed to bring a hand-held, battery operated calculator if you wish. Any other personal items including cell phones, watches and jewelry, food and drink, and any study materials are strictly prohibited and will not be allowed in the testing area.

What is Covered?

This exam is made up of 160 multiple choice questions. 20 of those are unidentified pretest questions that do not count towards your score and are randomly scattered throughout the exam.

Below are a brief outline and description of each major category or section tested, as well as the percentage of the exam that section covers.

Nutrition (18% of exam)

Gathering nutrition data, applying nutrition data, and providing nutrition education

Foodservice (20%)

Managing standardized recipes, supervising production and distribution of food, monitoring meal service, specifying standards and procedures for preparing food, modifying standard menus, and implementing continuous quality improvement procedures

Personnel and Communications (21%)

Defining personnel needs and job functions, interviewing and selecting employees, employee orientation, providing ongoing personnel education, developing and maintaining employee assignments and schedules, managing goals and priorities of the department, managing department personnel, managing professional communications, and implementing change in food service department

Sanitation and Safety (24%)

Managing personnel to ensure compliance, managing purchasing, receiving, storage, and distribution of food and supplies, protecting food in all phases of preparation, and managing physical facilities to ensure compliance

Business Operations (17%)

Managing a budget, preparing specifications for capital purchases, planning and budgeting for improvements in department design and layout, assisting in the purchasing process, managing revenue-generating services, and implementing cost-effective procedures

You will be given a total of three hours to complete this exam.

There is no penalty for guessing. Questions may be skipped or bookmarked and returned to. However, it is important that you answer every question.

How is it Scored?

Your score report will be given to you at the end of your exam by the testing proctor. This will include your pass/fail status only. Every exam is slightly different; therefore, the passing score is also different. However, passing scores are typically between 70% and 75%.

If you pass, you will be mailed information about your certification and how to receive it in about three to four weeks.

For those who do not pass, you may schedule to retake the exam if you wish. You will need to reapply for it and submit another exam fee. This can be done no sooner than 90 days after your last attempt, and there is no limit on how many attempts you can make.

How Can I Prepare for the Certified Dietary Manager Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide




Last Updated: November 9, 2023